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In this question by Henry Flower about the placement of scrollbars, Henry asks "is there a deep study available" on the topic and offers his personal experiences and some commentary. But the question itself is "Is there a deep study available?".

However, 100% of the answers are by members offering their expert opinions.

This led me to wonder the following: should we attempt to encourage answers backed up by research, and possibly even discourage answers based on expert opinions, when the person asking the question specifically asks for proof/research/references/studies?

I could see these kinds of questions becoming a good source of information on the internet if we can start providing links to said material, but as long as we just give our opinions, technically speaking the question hasn't been answered.

Thoughts?

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I always try to provide some link to a research/study/post/whatever on the topic, by some expert on the field.

I don't consider myself as an UI expert, but even if I were, I'd try to always backup the information I provide with some published study or further reference.

However, I don't think we should discourage people who just go around and throw an answer based on their personal experience. But it's up to us to weigh those answers using votes, and I probably wouldn't upvote an answer without any fundaments.

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By research I assume you mean publicly available papers on the subject that were tested using good, not faulty, procedures. Seriously, they usually don't exist. Should the best answer have been "no"? I have tested lots of things that never turned into a published article, but I can share the wisdom. Would that answer have been worse or better?

We should not discourage any answer that helps the questioner be better at this craft. Up votes should be for good answers, down votes should be for bad answers. If someone can answer the question with a limerick, I don't care, as long as I get more wisdom in the process.

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